The perennial third place in the cable news market, MSNBC has decided to try something a little different with its election coverage: citizen journalists. Joe Trippi, who ran the Dean campaign, is spearheading the idea. MSNBC is looking for coverage of the ballots and voting process, as well as the "flavor" of individual polling places.
What are you seeing? What happened when you went to vote? What’s turnout like where you are? If you went out door to door to get-out-the-vote for a candidate or party, how did it go? What response did you get? Why did you decide to do it?
Anyone can write a partisan screed on this election— to be honest those won’t make it on the air, or even on the blog. But a truthful report, filed by someone who takes the spirit and responsibility of citizen journalism seriously, can make this experiment in democratized journalism work better than most would expect.
Reports must be filed on the website, but photos can be emailed in -- an ideal use of email-enabled camera phones if there ever was one. Citizen reports will show up on the MSNBC election blog, and the most interesting ones will be read on the air.
This is an appealing idea, and while MSNBC may not carry it off well, it is a signpost of the changing nature of our relationship to news and information. It may not be OhMyNews, but it will certainly be worth checking out.